Enrollment drops, again: Fewer students apply, more transfers enroll

Enrollment drops, again: Fewer students apply, more transfers enroll

Rachel Christian

Enrollment dropped again at USI, falling 5.4 percent for the second year in a row.

According to the university, 9,364 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in classes this fall.

In the fall of 2001, 9,362 students enrolled, according to the Evansville Courier, making this year’s enrollment the lowest in 13 years.

For the first time, no conditionally-admitted students, “who may not be as prepared for a four-year college career,” were admitted.

The university continues to credit its higher standards to the dip in enrollment.

Kindra Strupp, assistant vice president for marketing and communications, said there are many factors that go into the overall enrollment number.

“USI saw an 18 percent increase in its graduation rate,” Strupp said. “More students leaving can have an impact on the overall enrollment figure.”

Strupp said the university will continue to strive to remain accessible to students, but will also continue to raise its academic standards, which is why USI chose not to accept any conditionally admitted students this year.

President Linda Bennett stressed the importance of strengthening recruitment in Saturday’s news release.

“We have to continue to look at ways to attract new students,” Bennett said. “The reality is that the demand and competition for these students is higher than ever.”

The amount of freshman and transfer student applications has also fallen over the past three years, as well as the number of students who actually enrolled after being accepted.

Strupp said the number of high school graduates in southwestern Indiana has declined since 2009, and the rate of those who are college bound in the region has also declined.

After a 12 percent increase in the number of graduate students last year, the university also saw a slight decline from 989 to 950 this year.

On the other hand, the amount of transfer students rose by 10 percent this year, according to the university.

For Taylor Dossey, a sophomore occupational therapy major, USI wasn’t even on the list of schools she was considering when she graduated high school in 2013, and she enrolled at Manchester University.

For her, learning about USI’s occupational therapy program prompted her to transfer.

Logan Long is a freshman English and history major from New Palestine, Indiana. When he graduated high school in 2012, USI was a possibility, but he chose to attend Central Christian College of the Bible in Missouri, where he studied for two years.

Long decided to change his major and wanted to attend school closer to home. USI was his first choice.

“I picked USI for a number of reasons,” Long said. “It was affordable and it was closer to home. I’ve always loved the Evansville area, and I thought this would be a good fit.”

Long began his first semester at USI last week.